Pilgrims flood Mount Arafat for hajj climax

2013-10-14 10:59
Muslim pilgrims climb up Mount Arafat, near the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the hajj main ritual. (Fayez Nuraldine, AFP)

Muslim pilgrims climb up Mount Arafat, near the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the hajj main ritual. (Fayez Nuraldine, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Mount Arafat - Pilgrims in their hundreds of thousands thronged Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia from early on Monday for the climax of the annual hajj pilgrimage, arriving on foot, by train or in vehicles.

Officials said they expected around 1.5 million pilgrims to descend on the site, where later in the day they will perform prayers and listen to the annual sermon from Saudi top cleric Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh.

Helicopters hovered overhead and thousands of troops stood guard to organise roads flooded by men, women and children streaming towards Mount Arafat.

The numbers are sharply down from last year, due to fears linked to the MERS virus and to expansion work.

Governor of Mecca province and head of the central hajj committee Prince Khaled al-Faisal said 1.38 million pilgrims had arrived from outside of the kingdom while only 117 000 hajj permits were issued for domestic pilgrims.

This puts the number of pilgrims this year at almost 1.5 million, less than half of last year's 3.2 million after Riyadh slashed hajj quotas for foreign and domestic pilgrims because of massive construction works at the Grand Mosque in Mecca and fears linked to the MERS virus.

Prince Khaled told the official SPA news agency late on Sunday that authorities have turned back 70 000 nationals and expatriates for not carrying legal permits and have arrested 38 000 others for performing the hajj without a permit.

Authorities have also seized as many as 138 000 vehicles for violating the hajj rules and its owners will be penalised, the prince said.

Saudi health authorities reiterated on Sunday that no cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus had been detected. The disease has killed 60 people worldwide, 51 of them in Saudi Arabia itself.

The pilgrims were arriving on Monday from nearby Mina where most of them spent the night following the traditions of Islam's Prophet Mohammed who performed the rituals 14 centuries ago.

They had moved to Mina on Sunday from the holy city of Mecca, home to the Grand Mosque, Islam's holiest place of worship which houses the cube-shaped Kaaba structure towards which all Muslims pray five times daily.

They will crowd onto the hill and the vast plain surrounding it praying until sunset when they then set off for nearby Muzdalifah.

There they will then spend the night before moving on in the morning to start the ritual of symbolically stoning the devil.

The hajj, which officially ends on Friday, is one of the five pillars of Islam that every capable Muslim must perform at least once.

Read more on:    saudi arabia  |  religion
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Milnerton 14:30 PM
Road name: Marine Drive

TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Boundary Road

Cape Town 12:55 PM
Road name: Nelson Mandela Boulevard Inbound

FLOODING near the Strand Street exit - approach with caution

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 30% off top fragrances

Get mind blowing savings on selected fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today you may want to bond with your children and need to connect to your imaginative and playful side. It may be that you are...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.